The smallest island of the Balearic group and one of the Iles Pitiuses (Pine Islands), Formentera is undeservedly overlooked by tourists in favour of Ibiza. Although located east of Spain, Catalan is one of the official languages of the island and the 'formenterenq' dialect is used by some of the roughly 7,000 inhabitants. However, despite not being a cultural heavyweight or a nightlife centre of Europe, Formentera has its own charm and allure for those simply looking to relax.

Very little is known about Formentera’s history, except for a stream of occupants. First taken over by the Carthaginians, Formentera was passed on to the Romans, the Visigoths, the Byzantines, the Vandals and the Arabs before finally being incorporated into Spain as part of the medieval kingdom of Mallord under the Aragons.

Known in the past for the fruitfulness of the land ('Formentera' being Latin for 'wheat'), now the island is dependent on tourism. A few days spent there and you’ll understand why it’s a safe gamble.


Culturally speaking, the finest buildings in Formentera are religious or defensive ones. The Capella de Sa Tanca Vella is the oldest religious building, being originally constructed in the 14th century and rebuilt in the early 18th century, and should be checked out. For a wider insight into Formentera’s past, a trip to the Sa Guardiola Defence Tower on Es Palmador (or any of the other towers scattered around the city) is a reminder of the pirate threat which plagued the city for most of the Middle Ages.

If you’re looking for something more traditional, the depths of the Cove d’en Geroni date back an incredible three million years and are worth a stroll. Not quite as old as that, the megalithic tomb of Ca Na Costa (stretching back to 2000 BC) can be found near Estany Pudent.

However, the major attractions of Formentera are naturally its fabulous beaches. Each one has its respective qualities, with Migjorn containing a lovely pine forest, Llevant better for socialising and Lletes a major tourist location. The most beautiful is unquestionably the Cala Sahona. Be warned though, nude sunbathing is generally accepted on the island’s beaches!

Formentera is also known for its huge array of festivals, including the Fiesta de Sant Joan on the 24th June in La Mola and the Fiesta de Sant Jaume on 25th July in Sant Francec (a major event). One of the more interesting is La Virgen del Carmen on the 16th July in Es Pujols and La Savina. Dedicated to the patron of sea people, an impressive nautical procession starts the celebrations before folk dancing, fireworks and music take over on land.


Although you can find decent shopping wherever you are on the island, the major shopping district is Es Pujols.

Good local craft and fashion stores can also easily be found elsewhere, such as Es Baladre in Sant Francese Xavier (with clothing for men and women).

Nightlife and Eating Out

Local cuisine naturally emphasises seafood, with dishes including sole, guisat de peix (fish stew) and arroç de matançes (slaughter rice), as well as baking specialities. For the best in local food, Pascual in the village of Es Caló is outstanding. Alternatively, foreign cuisine is catered for in places like the Pizzeria Tramontana on Ramón Llull in the centre of Sant Francesc.

Ferries can be taken daily to Ibiza if you’re looking for serious clubbing, as Xueno is Formentera’s only club. If you’d prefer a drink, Es Pujols contains a substantial number of bars, such as Bar Coyote and Biribin. The beaches are also awash with bars and restaurants like Sa Platgeta and Sol y Luna on the Migjorn.

Tourist Information

Formentera Tourist OfficePort de la SavinaLa SavinaFormenteraTel: +34 971 322


Formentera can only be accessed via ferry. Therefore, the best option is to fly to Ibiza International Airport, take a 15 minute cab or bus ride to Estacion Maritima, and then opt for the 30 minute ferry ride to the island.

From Ibiza, international and domestic connecting flights are available to limited destinations on the continent. Among the many airlines that use Formentera are British Airways (London-Gatwick), Easyjet (London-Stansted, London-Gatwick, Newcastle and Nottingham) and Thomsonfly.

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